This rifle was built by Fultons of Bisley in 7.62mm, Service Rifle B Configuration For Walter Magnay
This example has been fully regulated by Fultons of Bisley, this would of been of the time when the No4 was the main target rifle used at Bisley.
Regulating consisted of cutting away all the bearing surfaces in the fore-end and inserting new hard wood inserts and rebedding.
The Barrel is an original Canadian Long Branch (Canadian
Arsenals) 7.62 Match Barrel. Rear sight is the Parker Hale 5C & Fore-sight
At the time there was two classes of Service Rifle which
was Service Rifle A & Service Rifle B. "A" was standard
military set up & "B"
This rifle has been owned since 1973 by
My father purchased the rifle from Fultons for me in 1973 when I was only but a lad of 15. I shot with the Army Cadets and had already won two cadet 100 badges at the national meeting at Bisley by then. However, despite it shooting well, as I did all my shooting with the cadets with an issued 303 No4 I didn’t use the 7.62 Magnay rifle at all - possibly 4 or 5 times in total. We soon realised that the way forward was a 7.62 Swing - and my dad very generously bought me one direct from George Swenson (a fellow Tunbridge R&P club member) in 1974 (No 103) for the princely sum of £70, a good investment as I still shoot it very competitively today. But, after I had the Swing, there really was no going back to the No4 and so The Magnay Rifle has sat in my rifle cabinet ignored for 45 years!
My shooting story continues in The Regular Army, where from 1977 to 2013 I shot Target Rifle, Service Rifle, Pistol, SMG etc and was honoured to be the some time Captain Of The Regular Army and Combined Services for Target Rifle shooting at international level at Bisley - and since retirement from The Army in 2013 I continue to lead the veterans section of the Army Target Shooting Club. My life work is shown on the medal board below.
The rifle itself carries the heavy inscription “Magnay” in pencil under the top cover (see above), something I only discovered many years after we bought it in in about 1994. No one had ever mentioned these markings or made anything of it being owned by Walter Magnay - even Fultons when we bought it! And to support it being owned by him, given the publication date of the book (see below) and rather distinctive woodwork colours / foresight it is undoubtedly the same rifle as appears in plate 41 of the Fulton and Reynolds book published in 1972, which would support the rifle being on sale by Fultons in 1973 when we bought it. The rifle has clearly been very carefully prepared by Fultons using a Canadian 7.62mm Competition grade barrel, nicely blackened action and is fully Fultons regulated inside and out being both bedded and unusually for a No4 sprung from above under the covers. The woodwork itself is most distinctive and finished to a very high standard. It is interesting to note that Walter Magnay (see attached picture taken from his times obituary) was one of a handful of leading shots to dominate post war Bisley - and indeed he is seen here winning the Queens Prize in 1976 - just three years after we acquired his rifle. One suspects that he used this rifle and had it experimented upon by Fultons to try and perfect a competitive rifle in the transition from 303 to 7.62 (exactly as I was trying to do when I acquired the Swing!!). It is the finest No4 rifle I have ever seen in over 45 years of shooting, and is "as new" condition and shoots extremely well as can be seen from the two shoots I carried out in 2017 - with 1.5 and 1.25 MOA groups - just using me, a sling, and iron sights at 300 yds. I have proven that it can shoot almost as well as a modern TR rifle!! The second diagram is truly exceptional with a 14 round string achieving 1.25 minutes - 4 inches at 300 yds with no rest.
The rifle was last used in anger in 1994 - See attached a picture of myself (in the centre) and my team mates winning the Army Long Range Team match at Bisley (Kolar Goldfields Cup) - my chum on the left is holding the rifle.
Walter Magnay was the last of the great rifle shooters
who emerged in the years just before the war. He was one of the distinctive
characters among the Bisley-based “tigers” who topped the
prize lists from the 1950s to the 1980s, and he was one of the finest
shots ever to represent England and Great Britain. He was a respected
ambassador for the sport, fostering goodwill and humour among the opposition.
He toured Australia, Canada (five times), the Channel Islands, New Zealand,
Norway, South Africa and Switzerland as a member of British and other
UK teams. He won the Lt Governor’s Prize at Montreal, Quebec, in
1950, followed by the New Zealand Queen’s Prize and Ballinger Belt
in 1974, and the Queen’s Prize at Bisley in 1976. In a shooting
career spanning from 1947 to 1995 he won 51 caps for England, and 17 for
Great Britain during the annual Bisley Imperial Meeting, together with
a host of other individual honours. Younger shooters would often see Magnay,
Robin Fulton, Larry and Jean Orpen-Smellie and their illustrious shooting
friends gathered at the back of the firing point in the setting July sun
at the annual Bisley international matches, after shooting had finished
for the day. They were gathered for the evening ceremony of swapping hard
or good luck stories on their day’s fortunes, washed down by the
inevitable pink gins. It was a sight that brought a degree of reassurance
to hurried competitors, and the knowledge that there was time for relaxation
among sportsmen and women in a hectic world. Magnay’s victory in
the Queen’s Prize in 1976 came after a three-way tie shoot with
Libby Felton of Australia, and his friend Ted Molyneux. Molyneux recalled
Magnay’s advice on tie shoots: get your shots off quickly so as
to disconcert the other competitors.
The rifle was last use in anger in 1994 - See attached a picture of myself (in the centre) and my team mates winning the Army Long Range Team match at Bisley (Kolar Goldfields Cup) - my chum on the left is holding the rifle. My medal board below
This rifle shoots extremely well as can be seen from the two shoots (John Fennel) I carried out in 2017 - with 1.5 and 1.25 MOA groups - just using me, a sling, and iron sights at 300 yds. I have proven that it can shoot almost as well as a modern TR rifle!! The second diagram is truly exceptional with a 14 round string achieving 1.25 minutes - 4 inches at 300 yds with no rest.